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Affirming Courage with Amanda Alexander

Amanda Alexander is the founding Executive Director of the Detroit Justice Center. How Black women have built movements and cultivated joy by Amanda Alexander


ZAK: My wife does this, a lot, and I don't know how she learned it. But often, she'll be the one in a room to say the thing that other people don't have the courage to say, myself included. And, Amanda Alexander who I'm featuring on the show all week believes that when we see someone do this...When we see someone speak up and act courageously, it's important to go up to them and them them for it.

AMANDA: Yeah, I think back to...I'm a lawyer...and in law school there were these moments where it was often Black woman who would say what needed to be said, We had been talking about a case for 45-minutes and talking around the real issues of race or white supremacy or all of that and then there would be the person would just cut through it all and say what so many people were thinking and feeling and it being important to go over to that person, you know, or in the moment, in front of everyone, building on that comment so that it's something that's affirmed right there in-front of everybody else. And just standing alongside that person and I think that there can never be enough people who are saying what needs to be said and so, just affirming that courage when we see it and when we hear it.

ZAK: Yeah, this should be taught in schools. Like, what an important life-skill this is, to affirm someone else's courage and to practice it yourself when you can. And we're not taught that.

AMANDA: Yeah, it's a micro-thing and I think that I learned it from a friend of mine who is just really good at that and it was a law school friend who just modeled that really well and I saw the way that their, um, affirming that courage it made it ripple. You know? So, suddenly you have not just courageous individuals but a whole community of people who are emboldened by each other's courage.

ZAK: Yeah. Yeah. Courage is contagious.

AMANDA: Yeah. I mean I think it's really then creating a culture of courage.

ZAK: All week on The Best Advice Show, I'm featuring Amanda's advice. She first collected it in the Boston Globe in a piece entitled, How Black Woman Have Built Movements and Cultivated Joy. This is part 3 of Amanda week and I'm excited to bring you two more episodes, tomorrow and Friday. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you for thanking the brave ones among you.

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